My Latest New Favorite Poet: Nissa Holtkamp

My latest new favorite poet is Nissa Holtkamp. I discovered her via an email sent to me by my partner who found out about her via wormhole from one of Dan Savage’s Instagram Posts (yes, it is a crazy quilt of discovery, but thems the Interwebs, yah?). I went to her website, subtitled “Poetry and Beer”, picked the first poem, “Chicago, My Pillow”, and was simply BLOWN AWAY. It’s a love letter, the kind that shows how much she loves her town, warts and all. For when you truly love something, it is SO not just about the shiny parts, but the parts that need a little Brasso as well.

Chicago, My Pillow


Chicago, my pillow, full of bristle
And burrs. The hub city in a garden,
Bitter jurisdictions, aldermen, tongues
Uncured, monetarily reversed. The
Sharp street, putridity, wise signs, and dawn;
Interest rates, mortgage loans, home buying, and
Permits. Greasy palms, social crusades, trade,
Policy, and Hef’s first date. I come with
Beauty and grace into this gum spot place.
Complicated grunt and knowing nod – smile
Smarmy like any bad debater, or
Twist of fate. I’ll take your bags up, be your
Date. When I let you go into the lake
You come back tenfold. Profits and potholes,
Cock suckers and fortune tellers. Locked knees,
Park fees, corporate tools, near side bystanders –
Pain of blood pushing through frozen veins. Frost –
Bite that took a few toes. Cold that freezes
The snot in your nose. My have to have. My
Need to know. Repeat, believe, percolate
Your words. Step off the curb. Back off the train
Cars and cab stars and onto the fat farm,
Funny farm, shortfall, windfall, shopping mall.
Bad luck in a coffee cup, bottomed out
Plot – topsoil, turnstile, and toll booths. All is
Distractions and interruptions. Waiting
For the bus at Aberdeen and Ogden.
Bare patch, mismatched, silly money, and more
And more and more. Cheer the drunken upper
Deck as two branches sway in the wind. Catch
The fly, fish the murk. My have to have, my
Need to know. I know she will never love
Me back; she cannot and never has. She
Is land and blind at that. “Ain’t no sunshine”
Rooted in discord. A city, a crutch,
A doubtful daunting machine, an onion.
Somewhere between the olive branch and the
Cattle ranch: perspicacious prairie path.

© Nissa Holtkamp 2014

Obviously, since rhythm is a huge part of my blog, the fact that this piece is drenched in musicality did not go unnoticed by me.

I think my favorite lines are a great example of this:

“My
Need to know. Repeat, believe, percolate
Your words. Step off the curb. Back off the train
Cars and cab stars and onto the fat farm,
Funny farm, shortfall, windfall, shopping mall.”

Check out her site (link above) and read more of her work, you won’t be disappointed, she’s fantastic!

Enjoy! ;oD

Jamy

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